Social media has once again proven that when focused, our generation can pull together and launch an unofficial campaign that not only spreads awareness, but paints a picture strong enough to change the dialogue around the representation of Black people in the media–especially as it’s related to the trend of police brutality.
Michael Brown’s shooting not only sparked major outage from the sheer fact of him being gunned down by the police while unarmed, his story was also chopped and screwed by the media, who chose to paint Brown as a dangerous “gang-banging” teen, who perhaps deserved to die because he was a big Black “threat” to police.
The initial image released of Brown after his untimely death was of him in his cap and gown, but since the story picked up steam, media organizations and conservative bloggers are increasingly turning to a photo of Brown clad in a Nike Air jersey and throwing a “gang sign.”
Immediately, images of Trayvon Martin throwing up gang signs, showing off gold grills and smoking weed flooded my mind. The world was ready to see Martin as a dangerous hoodlum who may have deserved his fate. #IfTheyGunnedMeDown is not only a sad commentary on what it means to be Black in America, but also shows that in order to have our own stories correctly reported, we have to do the reporting ourselves. Check out this amazing Op-Ed from our Senior Editor, Nakisha Williams that explores what it means for Black people to be portrayed negatively in the media.
Post your photos and use the hashtag #IfTheyGunnedMeDown to join in the conversation. Check out some of the other Twitter users who participated: